B y Jaime Thomas
The familiar tinkling of the bells and the clinking of the coins dropping into the kettles is back in Granville.
For about two weeks, volunteers have been collecting money for the local branch of the Salvation Army, which serves the Granville, Hartford, Whitehall and Salem area.
In the first 10 days of collection, volunteers gathered $1,500—a good start toward surpassing last year’s $7,000 total.
The good news for locals in need is that 90 percent of the money stays in the community, said Sally Peterson, wife of Pastor Jim Peterson of the Granville Baptist Church. She explained that many area families might not have enough to stay afloat, but they don’t qualify for federal assistance.
“This is a community that has great need, and there are many people who are just over the edge of receiving help from the government,” Peterson said. “This is also a community that’s extremely generous.”
She said the proceeds from the bell-ringing efforts go toward emergency prescription help, fuel, food, electricity shut-off notices and other necessities. And while the collection takes place throughout the holiday season, money gets distributed as the need comes.
“If some family, their fuel is about to go and the check didn’t arrive, they can contact us and we’ll help them,” Peterson said.
Peterson and her husband estimate that last year’s financial drive served close to 50 area families.
“The Salvation Army mantra is ‘Doing the most good for the most people.’ It’s a wide-ranging service,” she said. Helping to stretch those dollars throughout the community are several local fuel companies and Price Chopper, which will accept vouchers from the fundraising system.
At the end of the year, any leftover funds provide assistance to other organizations, such as the Backpack Project and the Granville and Whitehall food pantries.
The bell-ringers’ main collection site is at Price Chopper in Granville, and they collect money at Green Mountain Produce in Whitehall on Saturdays.
There’s still a need for ringers this season, and anyone interested in helping the effort can contact Jim Peterson at 518-642-2245 or Diane Wescott or Vicki Palmer.